What a tour de force. What an idea. I was so excited to be a part of it, to meet so many wonderful, focused young people — and older people!
— Dr. Jane Goodall commenting on the LIFEboat Flotilla, the program which proceeded the Oceans Flotilla.

Global Activators is developing an innovative program called Young Leaders for a Living Oceans that will engage thousands of young people in helping to pull the global oceans back from the brink. The program has two components: a unique leadership training experience called the Oceans Flotilla, and a follow-up series of 150-200 grassroots gatherings focused on protecting the oceans that will be organized by the participants in Oceans Flotilla. The program is designed to take place in several countries around the world.

Oceans Flotilla

Each voyage of the Oceans Flotilla will bring together two hundred outstanding people age 15-17 (called "Young Leaders") with fifty educators and mentors on a flotilla of a dozen small ships for a week of exploration through a sheltered archipelago in a select location in the world. The Oceans Flotilla will focus on the primary reasons the global oceans are in jeopardy, including ocean acidification, ocean warming, over-fishing, and plastic pollution — and the solutions to these challenges. 

Assorted tuna species pictured. Addressing the crisis of over-fishing will be a top priority of the Oceans Flotilla.

Assorted tuna species pictured. Addressing the crisis of over-fishing will be a top priority of the Oceans Flotilla.

A traveling oceans summit

The Oceans Flotilla uniquely combines elements of an educational adventure, leadership training exercise, and communications initiative. During the daytime of a Flotilla journey, the dozen boats will fan out to different islands and the youth will participate in small group hands-on workshops (delivered by experts and held on shorelines or from the deck of their ship) related to marine biology, the major perils facing the global oceans, and what can be done to turn back the tide of destruction. Additional workshops will aid the participants in creating the multi-media presentations on protecting the oceans that they will deliver in their communities post-Flotilla. They will also receive training in how to organize their own ocean-saving conferences in their community that will engage scores of local youth in the cause.

TV news stories about the LIFEboat Flotilla program, the predecessor to the Oceans Flotilla.

The ships will anchor together multiple times throughout the journey, enabling everyone to go ashore for film screenings, music performances, and plenary sessions from renowned ocean conservation leaders and motivational speakers. There will a euphoric sense of camaraderie at these large group gatherings — a feeling created by the extraordinary journey that unites two hundred outstanding Young Leaders and their mentors in a great cause. Live Internet broadcasts during the Oceans Flotilla will share key moments with audiences worldwide, and each broadcast will feature a call to action to advance specific solutions.

Photo by David Doubilet

Program Impact

In the months following Oceans Flotilla, each of the Young Leaders will convene a small planning committee composed of young people in their community to organize their own youth conference focused on safeguarding the oceans. Approximately 100 local young people will attend each of these events. The content of these conferences will include film screenings, workshops on advocacy campaigning, and musical and spoken word performances by young people.

A focal point of each gathering will be the multi-media presentation delivered by the Youth Leader associated with that local event. The participating young people at these gatherings will be invited join advocacy campaigns to advance the solutions to the major challenges facing the global oceans. Collectively, these grassroots gatherings will involve approximately 20,000 young people across the country in protecting the oceans.

The successful LIFEboat Flotilla program pictured here was the predecessor to the new Oceans Flotilla.

The successful LIFEboat Flotilla program pictured here was the predecessor to the new Oceans Flotilla.

What I remember most about the LIFEboat Flotilla is feeling empowered and inspired by spending time with other youth who also wanted to protect the environment and were working in their own schools and communities to do so.
— Lauren Graham, participant

Participant Selection

Participant selection will be based in part on applicants having demonstrated a strong interest in protecting the natural world, especially the oceans. They must also pledge to organize a post-flotilla youth conference in their community focused on protecting the oceans, and take must steps towards that goal prior to attending Oceans Flotilla. Selected participants will fundraise in their communities to contribute to the costs of their participation in the program. 

Building on past success

The Oceans Flotilla is an evolution of a similar program called the LIFEboat Flotilla that was a significant success in Canada years ago. The principals of Global Activators created that program, which engaged 800 young people on five Flotillas. The LIFEboat Flotillas featured acclaimed presenters including Jean-Michel Cousteau, Dr. Joe MacInnis, and Dr. Jane Goodall.

The differences between the old and new Flotilla programs are notable. While the previous LIFEboat Flotilla program focused on general environmental education, the new Oceans Flotilla will spotlight the endangerment of the world's oceans, and the solutions. 

The Global Potential

It is feasible for the Oceans Flotilla program to take place in many locations around the world that have sheltered archipelagos and charter vessel fleets. We will offer the Ocean Flotilla in places where we can make the most impact. To that end, we are currently investigating which countries/regions are the highest priority places for engaging audiences in advocacy on solutions to the crises facing the oceans. Please join us in helping to launch the Oceans Flotilla program. 

Jean-Michel Cousteau on the LIFEboat Flotilla.

They’re becoming ambassadors of the environment. This experience will change them forever.
— Jean-Michel Cousteau, commenting about the participants on the LIFEboat Flotilla.